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Is failure no longer an option?

Posted by Richard on July 22, 2008

Last week, Larry Kudlow went on a great rant against bailouts:

Why does it seem to me that all Washington ever seems to talk about these days is bailouts? Bailout Freddie Mac. Bailout Fannie Mae. Bailout Wall Street. Bailout homeowners. Is it possible in America today that no one is allowed to fail?

You know, Phil Gramm was right. We are a nation of whiners. No one wants to believe that failure is an option anymore. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Or learning from your mistakes? Or going through transformative difficulties that just might change your life and your behavior? But it seems like failure is off the board nowadays and that it’s government’s job to rescue everybody.

Read the whole thing.

But Larry shouldn't be surprised. Ever since the 60s radicals grew up (if you can call it that), they've been trying to eliminate grades, scorekeeping in sports, valedictorians, … They strive to eliminate all risk, embrace the "precautionary principle," and keep an army of litigation lawyers employed trying to make sure someone pays for every unfortunate event in the universe.

They argue that those who succeed in our economy are just "winners of life's lottery." So clearly, those who fail are just "losers in life's lottery." And they see government's primary purpose as eliminating (or at least ameliorating) the difference between the "winners" and the "losers."

They either are ignorant of or reject Joseph Schumpeter's argument that "Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism" and the critical factor in its success. Most of them, even if persuaded that Schumpeter was right, would gladly give up the additional wealth and far higher standard of living for everyone that creative destruction makes possible, righteously preferring that we all be poorer, but more equal.

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One Response to “Is failure no longer an option?”

  1. Hathor said

    I don’t understand why libertarians, speak as if they weren’t sixties radicals. You all appeared to be as counter culture as the rest. Personal responsibility is not a characteristic of only one ideology.

    I think in this instance, it is about saving their own class of people. We can’t have bankers flipping burgers.

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